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Join Us for Timely Discussion on Responding to COVID-19

 

Welcome to the latest issue of The Districts, where we chronicle the people, issues and activities impacting special districts across the U.S.

News Staff / March 26, 2020

To help special districts respond to the rapidly evolving COVID-19 crisis, we will host a virtual summit dedicated to sharing information and insights as we all work through this global pandemic. Join us March 26 to hear how districts like the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority are responding to this challenge. We’ll also offer industry best practices for enabling a secure remote workforce and answer your most pressing questions.

Register now to participate in this important webcast.

Challenges Drive New Solutions

Resource and budget challenges are driving special districts toward new technology approaches. Our annual survey of special district leaders, conducted late last year, shows growing interest in as-a-service solutions, internet of things (IoT) tools and mobile technology as these organizations seek to improve efficiency and effectiveness.

 

  • 74% of survey respondents are evaluating as-a-service offerings
  • 50% are becoming mobile-ready
  • 36% are using IoT tools

 

Special district leaders are using these solutions to address their two largest needs: replacing legacy systems and filling talent gaps. More than half of survey respondents said infrastructure modernization is a significant challenge and 43 percent said they don’t have the workforce they need. Download our 2019 Annual Report to learn more about how special district leaders are confronting these and other issues today and preparing for the future.

Tell Us Your Story and Earn Recognition

Submit your application now for the 2020 Technology Innovation Awards Program. This unique program puts the spotlight on your achievements. Last year we recognized more than 40 districts and officials for innovative uses of technology to improve citizen services and internal operations, as well as for exemplary leadership. Add your district to the list for 2020.

District Spotlight: Recharging California’s Aquifers

A pair of water agencies in Monterey, Calif., are leading an effort to replenish shrinking aquifers in California’s central valley. Monterey One Water -- formerly the Monterey Regional Water Pollution Control Agency – and the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District recently opened a water treatment plant that will pump millions of gallons of purified wastewater daily into a vital regional groundwater resource known as the Seaside Basin. Besides purifying wastewater, the plant will recycle agricultural drainage water, agricultural wash water and storm water runoff.

In all, the treatment plant will inject at least 3,500 acre feet of water annually -- equivalent to more than a billion gallons -- into the region’s dwindling groundwater supply.

Fares make up about 8 percent of KCATA’s $100 million budget, says Makinen, and once the costs associated with collecting and counting the money are taken into consideration, “it’s not really $8 million. It’s less.”

“That’s a paradigm shift in thinking about recycled water,” said Paul Sciuto, the general manager of Monterey One Water. “The reason it’s so important is that communities can look around and find underutilized or unutilized water resources around them and then bring them into a system that can capture their benefits. To my knowledge, it’s the first potable reuse plant in the country that uses all these source waters.”

Read more about this project here.

More Articles Worth a Read

Here are more stories from special districts around the country. Share your own news with us for inclusion in the next newsletter.

The municipal power utility in Chattanooga, Tenn., is testing quantum technology to encrypt messages sent on its fiber-optic network. The new type of cybersecurity protection is regarded as far safer and less vulnerable to cyberattacks than any existing controls.

New York City’s Metropolitan Transit Authority and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey are among the transit agencies participating in a new Transit Tech Lab aimed at boosting innovation. The agencies will partner with startups to improve accessibility, revenue generation and curb space management.

Metropolitan Atlanta would spend nearly $173 billion over the next 30 years to address traffic and transportation problems under a plan recently approved by the Atlanta Regional Commission Board. The plan calls for new toll lanes, more commuter rail lines and light rail expansion.



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